RAIDERS OF THE NILE, by Steven Saylor

2/prequel to series. Saylor's long-running Roma sub Rosa series, starring super-sleuth Gordianus the Finder, now has two prequels, starting when the sleuth-for-emperors was a mere youth. What a clever idea! In the main series (begun in the early 1990's), Gordianus has aged as Rome went through the paroxysms wrought by various rulers, including Julius Caesar. Now, as the sleuth is in his old age, we are gifted with his early years. The first book was The Seven Wonders; this one takes us to Alexandria, Egypt, during the reign of last of the Ptolemys, where the twenty three-year old Gordianus has somehow mislaid his new slave, the beautiful, mysterious, highly-treasured Bethesda.
His frantic search for the girl takes him to the home of a wealthy trader, where a mouthy young slave Djet is loaned to him to aid in his search. Which takes him into the wild and unpoliced Nile Delta, where the notorious Cuckoo's Gang hides out. No spoilers here! It's a 4.5 and, if you have any love at all for the ancient world, Saylor is your author, and all his books will please you. But start with The Seven Wonders. These really are best read in order. Just think: a whole season of mesmerizing trips into the ancient Roman world!